Q: You don’t actually believe the devil is real, do you? I think “Satan” is just an imaginary idea that people dreamed up to explain why there’s so much evil in the world. But that doesn’t mean he’s real, like you or me. — Q.G.
A: You’re partly right; Satan is not like you or me. But the reason is because Satan is not only real, but he is far greater than we are, so great that we should have every reason to fear him.
How do I know Satan is real? One reason is because Jesus engaged in battle with him. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry Satan did everything he could to turn Jesus away from the work God had given him. Satan knew that Jesus was the divine son of God, sent into the world to deliver us from sin and death and hell — in other words, to deliver us from Satan’s power.
But Jesus refused every temptation from Satan. When Jesus did that, He wasn’t fighting a fictional idea; Jesus’ conflict with Satan was real. (Matthew 4:1-11.)
But I also know Satan is real by looking at the world around me, and even within my own heart. How else can we explain terrorism, or racism, or injustice, or a hundred other examples of evil and destruction and brokenness? Satan, the Bible tells us, “was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him” (John 8:44).
Don’t be deceived, and don’t be misled by Satan’s false promises. Instead, face your need for God’s forgiveness and help, and turn to Jesus Christ for the new life and hope you need. He alone is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.